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All Systems Go: Ministry of Transportation, Traffic Operations Centre

Working under the oversight of Infrastructure Ontario and for the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, mcCallumSather and Kasian partnered to create an innovative, forward-thinking facility designed to improve the efficiency to traffic management services in Toronto and surrounding municipalities. The project involved the design, construction documents, tender and field review services for the Traffic Operations Centre (TOC) as well as the design and construction documents for MERO, the Material and Engineering Research Offices.

The LEED Silver Candidate facility, addresses the needs of a diverse set of stakeholders, from Emergency Response, Traffic Control and the Regional Action Group. The programme for the TOC was unique, requiring increased security clearance and access. Security is a key component. The team was able to develop the programme in such a way as to meet the heightened security requirements, maximize the space within the facility, while also ensuring a welcoming and open environment in which its staff, who are under a great deal of pressure, may thrive. The building was zoned by function, creating efficiency in the use of mechanical and electrical systems, increasing efficiency for the end user as well. A modular, flexible layout was developed for the workshop, labs and warehouse; open plan transparent offices for administration; latest security and automation design; and state of the art AV for easy communication and collaboration.

The barrier-free campus has bicycle storage and shower facilities, extensive canopied entrance vestibules for rain and snow protection, passive solar shading at the south facade and an accessible green roof. Toronto Green Standards were followed including special care to make the campus as bird-friendly as possible – lowered exterior lighting levels and a strategy to reduce nighttime ‘light traps’. Treating the exterior glazing with fritted glass – a proven approach to reducing reflection and the optics of transparency – is used extensively to maximize access to natural light while screening the building occupants from direct exterior view. A palette of natural materials were selected to maximize light reflectance while providing above-norm acoustics values. LED fixtures on occupancy sensors offer energy efficient lighting throughout the facility.

Stone from locally sourced quarries acted as the aggregate surface on the concrete floors. Limestone aggregates from Dufferin County and Manitou were selected by the MERO research staff to highlight some of the work being conducted in the concrete and aggregate labs, and to provide another subtle layer to the wayfinding strategy.

Working in close consultation with the end users, MSA and Kasian employed an integrated design approach. IDP is an inclusive, participatory design methodology and is the best means to a collaborative and cross-functional approach to design. It helped us to meet the needs of the many stakeholders, from the choice of materials to how the HVAC system functioned to best suit the 24-7 nature of the facility’s operations. Fume-hood intensive material testing labs require 100 per cent fresh air supply and low level exhaust. Ganging these functions minimizes expensive stainless steel duct runs by locating dedicated roof top HVAC units proximate to these discrete functions. The flooring has raised access to ensure a supply of volume/low velocity air conditioning to staff. The space, which houses a large volume of technology and the heat it generates, features additional cooling loads to ensure the comfort of its occupants.

Key deliverables:

  • From the project inception, the architectural team was tasked with meeting a critical timeline to ensure the facility was fully commissioned and operational prior to the start of the PanAm games.
  • Coordinated highly diverse stakeholder team including numerous MTO departments resolve the design for TOC (Phase 1), and Mero, the Materials and Research Offices (Phase 2, pending approval to proceed to tender)
  • A/M/E/S drawings all completed with BIM (Revit) software. The enclosure was designed as a high performance enclosure system to maximize energy efficiency in conjunction with the building systems
  • mcCallumSather took a lead role in providing on site presence for general review and processed both field and office documentation
  • Provided on going services to ensure proper documentation compiled and as-built drawings completed

    Read about Traffic Operations Centre

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